3 August 2022
The State Government would be able to build temporary, portable housing on vacant land to help ease South Australia’s housing crisis under a Greens’ Bill to be introduced next month.
The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Use of Vacant Land) Amendment Bill 2022 would allow the Government to step in and place portable housing on vacant land in circumstances where the owner is unwilling or unable to undertake development. The land would be returned to the owner once a development application has been approved.
The Victorian Government has recently moved to provide some prefabricated, transportable housing for people sleeping rough on vacant land (see eg: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-11/portable-housing-used-to-tackle-homelessness-in-melbourne/8174522) .
“South Australia is in the middle of a full-blown housing crisis. It is outrageous that we have residential and commercial land across our state being left vacant, with no plans for development when we have people sleeping on our streets, in tents, cars and caravans”, said Greens Housing Spokesperson Robert Simms MLC.
“We need urgent action from the State Government. Transportable housing could provide shelter to those South Australians who are sleeping rough and desperately need a roof over their head this winter.”
Additionally, the Greens have called for the Government to make better use of vacant residential and commercial land that is publicly owned:
“The South Road development is an example of wasted opportunity. Rather than leaving the land vacant for prolonged periods, the Government should investigate using parts the site for portable housing.”
The Greens’ bill gives the Government ability to take a statutory lease on a parcel of land for public purposes. No rent would be paid by the Government, however the owner of the land could be reimbursed for expenses such as rates, taxes and levies.
The SA Greens have advocated a range of measures to tackle the housing crisis including major investment in public housing, rent capping and taxes on vacant property.